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Frankie Dewar  0:00  
I'm here in Alton It is day two of the trip. And as I only know you by your Instagram handle, Can I check how you like to  please? 

Soraya  0:08  
Yes, Soraya, 

Frankie Dewar  0:09  

Soraya  0:09  
Yeah, yes.

Frankie Dewar  0:10  
And can I just check your preferred pronouns?

Soraya  0:12  
Yes, she Her. 

Frankie Dewar  0:14  
Lovely. Thank you so much. Can I also just check? Are you happy to see your age?

Soraya  0:18  
Yes, I am. I'm 34. I will be 35 in October.

Frankie Dewar  0:23  

Frankie Dewar  0:24  
And, and just in case, I didn't say it is the 16th of August. Because I'm doing two interviews today. I said to the other person that I wouldn't be leaving here till after 12. So I've got like, I mean, I don't know that you have. but I've got all day. 

Soraya  0:39  
Well you might not you don't know what's gonna happen with your bike.

Frankie Dewar  0:41  
Hello, and welcome to the extraordinary ordinary womxn podcast, sharing life's adventures. My name is Frankie. And this is a podcast where I interview extraordinary ordinary womxn and non binary folx, as part of that 3000 kilometer cycle around England, Wales and Scotland. interviewing people out there myself to say that you don't just have to do it last year. You'll hear all about their adventures, and what they get up to, as well as their answers to my big life questions. Like what does authenticity mean? Did you have a clear sense of direction through life? And what advice would you give to your younger self? This is Episode Three. Where I talk to Soraya Abdel Hadi Soraya was the first person I interviewed who I had never met before. It would be an understatement to say that when I knocked on her door, I was pooping with especially after my catastrophic cycle on day one. But I couldn't have asked to knock on a nice the person's door. Soraya, it was an incredible person to interview. So open. And as you'll hear throughout the episode, we go off on a lot of tangents together. We did the interview in the middle of a field next to her house. There are occasional airplanes, including one right at the start. But they are few and far between. So I hope they don't deter the powerful stories, Soraya shares.

Frankie Dewar  2:29  
So to start with, can you just give me like a snapshot and an overview of who you are and what you do.

Soraya  2:36  
And so, I'm Soraya, I do a lot of different things that are based around sustainability, nature and adventure travel. And I have a full time job, which is also based in that area where I organize sailing trips, or women's sailing trips, looking at plastics and toxics in the ocean for x expedition. And but I also blog and do a lot of stuff on line in terms of promoting the outdoors and diversity in the outdoors and appreciating nature and what we have around us, as well as conservation trips, which are one of the things that I really love doing. 

Frankie Dewar  3:22  
Amazing I don't know whether to jump more into the outdoors or more into professional first, I guess if we go into like your sort of, work life. That sounds amazing. But what do you actually do? What does that look like on a day to day? 

Soraya  3:37  
Yeah, so good question. So I am Operations Manager for x expedition. A lot of people ask me if I get to sail, that's like always the first question. And I have sailed on x expedition voyages, but it's very difficult to do my job on a boat where you possibly don't have internet connection. So I do a lot of the background organizing, I do things like I basically support everyone else in the team. But I also do like the HR staff and the bookkeeping, but also help with coordinating things like the passage planning and the scientific permit, working with our guest crew and helping them with the things that they need. And, gosh, there's so many things that we do. So basically every single aspect I support the rest of our, our wider team in getting what we get done done, because we do citizen Science on board. And oh, yeah, helping organize the local events. Because everywhere that we visit, we coordinate with local groups and do local outreach events as well say this is I probably didn't say that, but this is all over the world. So it's really cool. I get to like talk and me and deal with loads of really, really cool, exciting, fun people. And so it's great as a job. And yeah, so that's my like professional job. It suits me really well. Because I am really, really easily bored. So it's a great job because I can switch between lots of different things and aspects of it, if that makes sense. It's a bit slower right now because of COVID. But generally speaking, like there's always something else to do and get on and like, get excited about,

Frankie Dewar  5:19  
how do you find a job like that?

Soraya  5:22  
Yeah, so that is a great question. And it's quite funny. So my career has been a bit windy. And I don't know whether you want to talk about that, particularly. But like, the direct thing before I got this job was that I had decided that I wanted to move more into sustainability. And so I did and MBA in sustainability. And I worked while I was doing that, and I did random jobs. I worked as a marketing manager for a security company, I ran a reception team for a climbing group Climbing Center. And then I worked with a group of climbing centers for a bit and did my course. And it was really intense and like crazy. And so when I finished it, I was like, I really want to do something to kind of celebrate this that I've I finished it. So I booked to go canoeing on the Mississippi River. It was amazing. It was a bit like random. I was like, I'm just, I'd never canoed before. So people were like, Oh, you must be really into canoeing. I was like, maybe I have no idea because I've never done it before. I'd also at the time, I had never been to the US either. And I didn't know anyone else who was going on it. It was organized by Dave Cornthwaite, and Emily Penn, who runs expedition. And that's how I met her. And then after directly after that trip, I started volunteering for expedition. And that was in 2016. And, and it just kind of developed from there. I volunteered for about a year helping coordinate round Britain, which is sale that they did that we did. And yeah, and then started working, working for them in the following year, and then started working full time for them at the beginning of this year.

Frankie Dewar  7:15  
That's amazing.

Soraya  7:17  
I'm like, are we in 2020? beginning of last year, this year doesn't count. Right? It's all like collapsing on itself. 

Frankie Dewar  7:26  
Completely. Wow, how amazing. Is it that just from that one trip, you then like, picked up this job? And now that's what you do? 

Soraya  7:37  
Yeah, it's been a bit. I feel like that about everything that I do, though. It's quite impulsive. So I tend to follow if I see a thing. I'm like, yeah, that seems great. I'm just going to go all in on that. Because that seems like it's the right, the right direction for me right. Now. That makes sense. So and I did that with my career as well. And yeah, seems to currently it's worked quite well. There's obviously more like, there's always gonna be more to come. But

Frankie Dewar  8:07  
and with the blogging and the sort of the diversity in the outdoors. Do you see that as a job or as work as well? Or?

Soraya  8:13  
And it is? It's becoming, I would say more of a job, if that makes sense. So I've I used to work at an equestrian magazine. And so I've always written and I wrote, I had a blog before that when I was at uni, which was a really long time ago now. Like, I think I left in 2007, I think. So writing has always been a big thing for me. And now I've kind of pivoted everything I do to create more good basically, like, I feel like purpose is so important. And I didn't realize how important it was until I was doing this job at the equestrian magazine. And I loved it. It was a great job. But I was like something missing, which is why I decided to go and study sustainability. expedition is my full time, full time job. But I've always freelanced around, like all the jobs I've ever had. And this is definitely something that is it's growing, actually last week. This is a whole different story. But basically, I was looking so all of the things that have been happening recently with Black Lives Matter and kind of that aspect of diversity in the outdoors, which isn't the only aspect but it's like the one that's been getting like a headline here a minute. Yeah, exactly. And people were asking me to talk about it. And it's something that I haven't hugely I have talked about a bit in the past, but not hugely. I was excited to be able to start to understand how I could better use my platform to kind of start creating change. And I was looking for a central place where all of the different communities and brands are trying to do better and groups and people could connect To share learnings Yeah, because there are so many different reasons why people don't go outdoors, right? And safe, like so many. And also none of us are one thing. So you might go to a Well, for me, for example, I'm, I'm a woman, so I fit into women's groups, but I'm also Bame. Right. So you Everyone has different things, whether it's disability or being differently abled, or different sexuality or age, or like, there's so many different things. So what I was looking for, because my brain always goes like, Where are the connections? is a central place, or organization or group that was sharing the learnings from all of these different groups with the group's Does that make sense? Yeah. And I started contacting people being like, this must exist, right? Like, what is it? What

Frankie Dewar  10:55  
are you using?

Soraya  10:56  
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So where is? Where are these connections being made? Where is the research research being shared? Like, what can we learn? What can we take from cycling and apply to climbing? Or like, Where can we like collaborate and see that? 

Frankie Dewar  11:10  
Wouldthat also collaborate, say a women's group got really good at finding funding? They could then teach to LGBTQ group how to apply for funding? 

Soraya  11:18  
Exactly, exactly. Like there's so many things that you could do, right? It's like, and I was super excited about finding out what this was right. And everyone I spoke to was like, that's a great idea. You should start that was a bit like, I don't really have time. But okay, so last week, I actually registered a company.

Frankie Dewar  11:41  
Yes, congratulations.

Soraya  11:43  
It's called all the elements. And I'm hoping that it will help do this. And I'm hoping that other people will be excited about it and want to be involved, which then takes a bit of the pressure off of me with my full time job, and all of my other things I have going on. And also, I'm not an expert, like I'm not claiming to be an expert. That's why I wanted this so that everything could be shared across the groups, I want the experts to come forward and share things. And so that everyone can learn from everyone else. So I'm quite excited about it. I'm a bit scared, too, because it's like huge, like, 

Frankie Dewar  12:18  
it sounds like the best kind of projects.

Soraya  12:22  
We would say that vary by what you're doing right now.

Soraya  12:27  
But, yeah WOOO 

Soraya  12:28  
yeah. So in that sense, I guess it will become slightly more of a job. And but I want to start it small, I want to not like I want to start it small. But as in I want to make like my brain is always like, how can this logistically happen? So like the admin of it for me is I want to find out who's interested. And I want to find out what they want. Like, do you want news? Do you want events do you want? Like, how can how can this better serve you? Yeah. And so the website should be going up in the next week, just to capture like that information. And then once I have that, then hopefully I will be able to, like Target what the best thing to do is, but I'm thinking, first of all, just getting everyone to share their news and their wins. And Research  

Frankie Dewar  13:16  
like make it really positive. 

Soraya  13:17  
Yeah, exactly. And then like, just share it, share it with me. And then I can like send it back out in the form of like a newsletter or something like that. And that can be like the start. 

Frankie Dewar  13:26  
Amazing. I mean, like, keep in touch. And then like, I'll put you in touch with Frit. And then she's just up passionfruit pictures, which is a film production company, to try and sort of increase films, particularly around women, but also just about adding diversity and outdoors films. 

Soraya  13:47  
That's amazing. So yeah, that's really exciting. And that's I did a I actually did an interview recently, where she extreme talking about like, increasing diversity and stuff like that. So So yeah, there's so many people who want to do it. But this is what I mean is we're all working in our individual areas. And I feel like there's no where, where we talk to each other. And I'm really conscious that the groups are really important because they make people feel safe and confident and really, like help build them up in doing what they want to do. And I, but I just want to know, how do we bring everyone back together as well? Like that's the other step is like, how do we like we can share the learnings across the groups, but also how does, how do we will come back together? May I don't know. Anyway, this is what I mean is I'm not an expert. I just I want to learn and I'm interested in it. And I just I don't want to see too much. I want to see, like supporting of all the different groups because as I say, I feel like one of the challenges is we're not one thing. Yeah. So like how does how does a women's group that has support all of the people within their community? And how can how can they learn from other groups and how can Like a cycling group learn from, like I said, climbing or Sup? Or like, there's so many things you can do with it.

Frankie Dewar  15:09  
Sounds it's exciting. 

Soraya  15:12  
Yeah, it's exciting. And it's also a little bit overwhelming.

Frankie Dewar  15:16  
I mean, it sounds like you're quite busy, but how's your work life balance? 

Soraya  15:22  
Great question. Um, so when I was freelance, it was pretty good. And recently, the project that I'm working on with expedition is around the world project. And we're a tiny team. And it has been very, very busy. And I have not really had much work life balance. And I went to actually went to a work meeting a few months ago, before COVID. And the person in the meeting who was running it was like, super, like, he was great that he said, like, let's all introduce ourselves, let's talk about, like, what you do at work, because that's what we're here to do. But also, like, what are your hobbies? I suddenly was like, well, I used to do horse riding, and, and climb and do art. I need to do something about that. 

Frankie Dewar  16:23  
Exactly, me when I work over winter, I work like quite a full on, like, office type job. And people will ask me what I do in the evenings in my spare time, and I'm like, I cook and go to bed. 

Soraya  16:34  
Yeah. Exactly, exactly. So I'm not great. But the kind of like, caveat to that is that everything I do is connected. So my hobbies are connected to my work. And everything I do is based around the same thing. And also, I'm just not very good. Like, sit around and not do anything person. Like I always need a project going like even I have like two days off, out, me and my boss laugh about it. And because I'll be reading the time off, like, oh, and then I'll take two days off. And she'll be like, why are you in your emails and like, I'm not. I'm not in my team, I might be in my emails. I'm also doing this other project. 

Frankie Dewar  17:25  
I am exactly the same, like there was one day and knocked down when I had an afternoon off. And I laid on this day for watch films of the day. And as a filmmaker Frit all she wants to do is watch films. And she was like, this is the best thing ever. Why don't we do this more often. I was like, This is my one day of the year, you've got another one booked for 2021. 

Soraya  17:42  
And you're like this has been great. NEXT

Frankie Dewar  17:47  
completely. You've mentioned canoeing and climbing and working in equine hospital, what sort of activities and things do you do like in the outdoors, and sports and hobbies. 

Soraya  18:00  
And so I tried to make a list of these the other day, because I have another project that I'm working on, which is about getting people into outdoor activities. And it's a website where people can go it's it's currently called adventure source. And it's like it's not live yet. But it's um, so you can go and you can learn about getting into like you don't know how to start. How do I start with Sup? Oh, the the one thing that you want if you're going to buy one thing, what would it be? If you wanted to like join a society? What is the society you need to join? What are the rules you need to know like all of the things that right because you can find blogs on on things like that, but you can't go to one place and be like, Oh, I'm interested in like watersports. Like what are all the different watersports? And what's involved, if that makes sense? Completely? Yeah. So anyway, I was making a list for that. And I realized I always forget things. So if I do them in the order that I did them so horse, yeah, horse riding. I had a mountain bike when I was a kid. And I've recently built a bamboo bike, which I'm hoping that I will do some long distance journeys on but I'm taking out locally at the moment. And it's great and I'm so unfair, but that's okay. What else do I do I go running really slowly over very, very short distances. house Oh, yes, sir. I do. Sup. I don't have my own SuP though. So I do it usually when I'm traveling places. Sailing, also not an expert sailing. I just like getting outdoors. So basically, if there's an activity and somebody's like, Oh, you know what, like, it'd be really great to go like kayaking. I'm like, sure, how could it be? And sometimes it is quite hard. So when I went to the magazine, they started this series that was called like, have a go. And I gave it to me, and I think they gave it to me because they were like, she doesn't mind looking like a moron. She'll she'll like do it. And we did like a horseback archery. 

Frankie Dewar  19:58  

Soraya  19:59  
Yeah. stunt riding horse boarding. Now, when I say that, like things are not like, like, I'll try things, I'll try anything once. Horse boarding is not something I'm taking off. It's like part of my career ever. It's so hard.

Frankie Dewar  20:15  
What is horse boarding? 

Soraya  20:17  
So basically, you get a, like a mountain board, which I didn't even know that they existed. And you put on a whole lot of protective gear, and then you get attached to a horse and then the horse like it's been written by somebody like gallops and you get pulled along behind the horse on a longboard. Yeah, your face is saying everything right now. This like mountain board

Frankie Dewar  20:41  
that sounds like a really fun like banana boat in the ocean, but instead of being in the ocean and falling off into water, you fall off onto like..., 

Soraya  20:49  
yeah you have to wear like helmets and stuff. It's and it was terrifying. It's actually terrible... oh climbing. Climbing was such a massive part of my life. See, this is the thing is like I completely forget. And I yeah, I love climbing so much. I became a climbing instructor and I used to teach climbing and teach kids adults indoors. And and yeah, that's great. And actually, I'm, I'm really scared of heights. So it was like a great, I like things that pushed me out of my comfort zone basically. And and also climbing outside is fun, but also sometimes terrifying. Yeah, well, dog walking. So walking, hiking. Yeah, I think that might be. 

Frankie Dewar  21:32  
I mean, we just put it with a few like, dot dot dot. 

Soraya  21:34  
Yeah, like, whatever might happen next. And yeah,

Frankie Dewar  21:39  
And has the outdoors always been a part of your life. 

Soraya  21:41  
Mm hmm. Yeah. So yes, the outdoors has definitely always been a part of my life. I've been very lucky and very privileged, in the fact that my grandparents and my mum particularly, but all of my family, like enjoy being outdoors, have always taken me outdoors. And I remember going on dog walks with my grandma and granddad when I was tiny. And I have pictures of like my granddad walking me into like streams and things when I was a toddler. And yeah, so it's always been a massive part of my life. When I was a teenager, I used to whenever I was really stressed, I, I again, was very lucky, I had my own horse, I did get a part time job as well, so that I could help pay for it. And I would just take my horse and disappear off into like, the local Forestry Commission land and listen to like really angry music on my headphones, riding my horse. And that was like how I chilled out. Yeah, it's the place I go when I'm really stressed. But I try not to get to that point, I tried to like get my nature drip the whole time. And as you can see, like, actually, if you go out out that way, you're just in farmland and nature. And it's, it's so easy for me to do that from where I live. And that's one of the reasons why I chose chose where I am. Because I can just get the dog and just go and be gone for a few hours and feel much better. 

Frankie Dewar  23:07  
You've talked about like doing like lots of different activities and like starting them and learning them. How do you get started with something new? 

Soraya  23:15  
Well, a lot of the a lot of the activities, the. So if you're starting out, and you don't spend a lot of time in the outdoors, there are things that you can do straight away that really help you like get out, get outdoors quickly, like you don't really need any specialist equipment to go for a walk. And most of the places where we are will be everyone I think could be super surprised to find out how close they are to green spaces. Like even if it's just a tiny, tiny area of green. And nature finds those spaces and wildlife will be there. Like even if it's in somewhere that you wouldn't traditionally think it would be there. So yeah, just just a good pair of shoes. Although to be honest, I've done pretty long walks and flip flops, so don't even need those. And if you're looking at like different types of activities, it really depends on the activity. I always and I'm not just saying this for insurance purposes. But you I think it's always best unless you have like a really great friend who is super experienced, it's always best to find like a taster with an A good center that knows what they're doing. Because this even if you go like you can go out with friends and I've definitely done that. But like you need to make sure that in that situation you're safe. If you're going to do something that's in the sea, for example. Amazing. Are you are you a good swimmer? Is the person with you Like do you trust them? basically the same as climbing right? And climbing you're like do I trust this person to catch me because if I do not trust them to catch me I should not be here. 

Frankie Dewar  25:00  
Absolutely and I think it's about like destigmatizing that aswel , there's so many times when I've not booked a guide, or paid for a session, because everyone else has been like, Oh, no, you just need a friend to do it. But then you don't have a friend that's doing it. Yeah, exactly do it.

Soraya  25:13  
And most most outdoor activities, some of them do have like quite high price tags, if you want to go serious, like they have quite high price tags, but most of them do have really affordable taster sessions, because they want people to come and experience it and understand why it's great. And there are also lots of really great, and we talked about diversity earlier, there are lots of great groups that focus on like specific things, who also can negotiate discounts with centers, and are like really, really keen to like help get you out there. And make sure that you can also enjoy it, but also be safe doing it. It's a little bit how I feel about sometimes about wild camping, which can be like, an amazing experience. But also like just saying to somebody, it's fine, just go wild camp is like, what do they see that you're like, Oh, great. What, what does that even mean? And like, where do I start? And like, I need somebody to help me 

Frankie Dewar  26:10  
completely, like wild camping even for me, I've done it so many times. I'll really want to do it on my bike trip. But also I've never done it in the UK. So I especially because it's like not really allowed. Like, yeah, just 

Soraya  26:24  
well, and and also there's like this , you're right, there's like also a little bit of like, and I think that sometimes it can seem intimidating because of the things that we see. Okay, so what's promoted is like, people doing these super extreme things. Yeah. When actually being outdoors is just going for a walk from your house after work or like taking your bike out or like going for a wild swim and actually being in the water for only about 30 seconds because it is so cold. 

Frankie Dewar  26:51  
Absolutely it should  wild dipping and not wild swimming? 

Soraya  26:54  
Yeah, exactly. And, and I think we need to we're doing a better job of it. But I do think we need to talk about that more. And we need to stop glamorizing this whole light, you need to be like the dirtiest, the most extreme, the least prepared the do you see what I mean? Like, it's, it's fine to be the person who's like, Yeah, but I'm just checking. If I go really far out there, what actually happens, and actually, maybe I don't really want to do that, I just want to paddle. And that's fine, because that's your experience of the outdoors. And they don't feel pressured to like, go to other people want to do do what other people want to do do it without professional help. If you feel like you need like a professional to be there to feel comfortable and confident. And to do it without groups to feel like you have to do these things on your own. So that you can like talk about them and celebrate them, which is an amazing thing to do. But it's not for everyone. And I think we need to be looking at like, what everyone needs and everyone wants, because the being outdoors benefits everyone. Right? It benefits your mental health, it benefits your physical health benefits, if you're like super into being productive, like they've shown that walking increases your problem solving skills. And then it also benefits our environment. Because if you spend as much time outside as like most of us do, who you're going to be interviewing, like, we want to protect it, because it's so important to us. And you know, the more people who get outside and see how amazing it is, then hopefully the better we can protect it too.

Frankie Dewar  28:31  
And have you ever experienced any barriers to get into the outdoors?

Soraya  28:34  
No. And actually, this is something that I've been asked about a lot, because there is an assumption that if you are categorized as an ethnic minority, then there's going to be lots of barriers in your way. And that and that are for a lot of people. But I have been incredibly lucky, incredibly privileged. I've never felt unwelcome in the outdoors, I've always felt confident, I'm not that like, I'm not the fittest person, like I'm not the bravest person, but the outdoors, it can be whatever you make it and I feel like that's probably why I I've never felt like I need to be doing like bigger, faster, quicker, larger, to be a part of the outdoor community. And and I think that's one of the things we need to break down. But also I like role modeling. So Oh my God, we could go off on like a, a whole side thing on this. So I never felt unwelcome in the outdoors. I work in some areas, which are predominantly white middle class, essentially. I'm pretty middle class. So for that reason, I'm incredibly privileged and it gives you access to completely different areas and different things. And I'm very, very aware of that. But I would have people approach me at events. And they would say to me, like how can we get more people "Like you", I'm using like inverted commas. Because people don't want to say it because we're very British, and we don't want to like talk about it very much. Um, how do we get more more people like you here? Or like, why aren't there more people like, like you here today? And I would say, I don't know, I'm here. 

Frankie Dewar  30:22  
Go ask the people not here? 

Soraya  30:24  
Exactly. And but it happens a lot. And so before that, I'd never been like, Oh, I don't fit in the outdoors. And then once that happened, I realized that not that people didn't think I fit, but they were confused as to why maybe I was there and other people wern't there. And to start with, I was super offended. I was just a bit like, I'm just like you. That's why I'm here. And then I realized that that was the, for me, that wasn't the right approach. The approach was like, going to find out, like, I would love to be the person who raises up other people. And like, I want everyone to be outdoors. And I want everyone to come along. And so how can I help, basically, everyone else to feel welcome. And one of the easiest ways for me to do that, because I'm already outside, I'm already in the space, I'm already doing things. I'm at the events. So there are all of these events that are really looking to increase diversity. And they haven't necessarily been hugely successful. Why is that? I mean, this is part of this like group that I want to do, right? Because I would love like the event organizers to be in that group too. And you're working with the events and the communities and the brands and like, 

Frankie Dewar  31:36  
it's a huge network. 

Soraya  31:37  
Yeah, no, exactly. 

Frankie Dewar  31:38  
Put the people with the money in touch with the people that want the money. 

Soraya  31:40  
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And it benefits everyone. Right. So anyway, I feel like I've gone like this, my answer to this question has been very wiggly.

Frankie Dewar  31:50  
Amazing. I'm just loving, I try to keep up. 

Soraya  31:53  
This is how my brain works. It's like jumps around all the time. Basically, I've never felt unwelcome in the outdoors. And I recently made a commitment that I would try and work harder to help other people to become more welcome. And part of that is this, all the elements project, but part of it is also putting my face out there more, because I don't do that. And I've never done that. I always just kind of thought, I'm like a big like, yeah, everyone could do it. Yeah, it's great. No, I don't really want to put a photo of me being outside. I'm terrible at selfies, Please don't make me do that type person. And but that doesn't help, right. Because if I'm one of only a very small percentage of people who look like me who are out there doing it, I need to show that it's fine to be out there doing that. And like, you can have fun. And it's and it's great. And you're welcome. And everyone wants you there, I want you there, please. But also, it's like identifying what all these other barriers are, and helping people overcome them. And there are a whole load of different ones from socio economic type things about living really far from like, where you can actually do a lot of these activities, to, you know, some cultural things there are, there are so many different aspects to it. And everyone wants one answer. And there just isn't one. And that's why I think it's super important that we get all of the learnings, learning from all the different groups together to help raise up all these different different areas. But also not forget that people look at people have kind of looked at me, like, Oh, you've overcome so many barriers to be in the outdoors. And I'm like, I really haven't. Like, I wish that I could say that that was like the case and No, I don't wish that I could say that was the case. That's completely that's completely wrong. Like, I don't wish that at all. But that's what they expect from me. Oh, yeah, I've overcome all of these, all of these boundaries. And I just want I want to know what they are, and how I have overcome them, like how my privilege has helped me overcome them, so that I can help other people. And also, so I can answer the question, right? Because if people keep asking me,

Frankie Dewar  34:09  
I mean, yeah, but I just want to say, I think that people asking you, I mean, I know I just asked you,

Frankie Dewar  34:16  
if people asking you also mean to like, even appreciate the work you're doing probably financially as well as actually verbally. And then Aside from that, they also mean to go and do that work and not yet ask you 

Soraya  34:29  
Yes. But But okay, so I have a i. So I'm conflicted about this, right. So the Black Lives Matter thing has been amazing and so intense and like is creating change in so many different areas and waves and it's been incredible. What I found was, and I have a very extensive white network, basically. And I found that period of time incredibly draining, but I found it draining because I chose To help and support, I actually don't think and it's my choice to do that. And it's my choice to put it out there. And every person who asked questions was interested and wanted to learn more and wanted to know where to start. And they all deserved. I felt for me the same level of enthusiasm, patience, response, right? Because every single one of those people I know came with like good intentions, like, I have never noticed, I've never understood that this was happening, I want to do better, right? If I'd have said to those people go off and do your own work, which I did, I basically did say, but in a kind of, like, here's where you can start way they wouldn't have known where to where to begin. And they probably would have got very overwhelmed. I mean, I was overwhelmed the number of articles over like 250 ways to educate yourself. Here are, like 50 podcasts that you could listen to, that are going to like, blow your mind. And they were all amazing resources. Right? I've been working on like myself and my education in this area. For years, I've read quite a lot of books, I have not read all of those resources. I have not listened to all of those podcasts. And I just think I would I open the list and went, Whoa. That's a later thing. And if I did that, then I think a lot of people were doing that. So I think if you have the energy and the capacity and the ability to step up and help help, if you really feel like because I was massively drained by it, if you feel like you don't have the energy, you don't have the patience. You've you've done this before. It's it doesn't work for you. You haven't done this before. It just doesn't appeal to you don't. Right. It's all about individual choice. And I think that's, you know, I think that's the problem is the assumption that you will approach somebody and ask them, and that they will, that they will help you. They might help you. But they're not obliged to. 

Frankie Dewar  37:11  
Yeah. And also, I guess, in that asking them in a way that leaves open, yes. Don't ask them in a way that makes them feel like they have to.

Soraya  37:17  
Yes, exactly. And also, I think that there's also an element of explaining. So a lot of the people that I approached me saying, like, we want more people like you our events, we want to like they it came from a good place. Right? It wasn't it wasn't from a negative place. And I would have been much more open to it. If they'd have said to me, and this is why it's like people take photos of their events all the time. And they use them in the policy for the event. Because it's like, oh, look, there's someone who looks like difference. And we can like permit it. And that's role modeling. And as important, and I want them to do that. Like, I'm happy for them to do that. But I would rather that there was a conversation about it, if that makes sense. And if that heard, now, I don't care, because I know what you're doing it. But if in the first place when I started to feel like it was it's othering in its own way, basically because you're saying like you're different. And you you stand out and it's in a again, it's not in a negative way. But it's like, it's it's doing that without explaining why you're doing it. I don't mind being the face of outdoor events. I would prefer to not always be be the face of outdoor events, but I can be that person. And it's important. And if it makes one person feel more comfortable about being outdoors or being at the event, great. But maybe just say, hey, like we're doing an exercise in like more role modeling and more representation. And we really want to like help encourage people. Because if you start doing that to people who have never, I felt comfortable in the outdoors, I went to those events, and I was asked these questions, and I felt perfectly comfortable in my place in the outdoors at the event. I'm a pretty outspoken, confident person. It didn't. It bothered me in a kind of like, I don't know why you're asking me that. But it wasn't like, Oh, God, I can't get back. But what if it's your first time at that sort of event? Right? And what if they for these people who have such good intentions are approaching people and saying things like that to them? It makes you feel like Why should I be here? Like Yeah, you're right, actually, now I look around I realize that not everyone's like me. So but that's just an educate. You're right is an educational side of it.

Frankie Dewar  39:30  
I'm gonna switch up my question order a little bit, because I've kind of got two questions around like women and around representation. Let me fit in really nicely to what we've been talking about. And I'm actually going to swap their order around as well. But so the question that I've been asking everybody is, do you see yourself represented in outdoor media like clothing and films and that sort of thing? And then what impact do you think it has? 

Soraya  39:56  
Um, yeah, so I No So I started saying that yes, but that was more of a like, yes, that's a good question. No, I don't feel like I see myself represented and in the media and like that take out of the equation, the last two months of amazing, crazy representation, which I really hope will continue, but I'm not convinced it will, in all of the different areas, there is a lot of like, reactionary work going on. But um, no, and it's not just because I'm, I'm a woman, or because I'm have a different colored skin or any of those, like, necessarily those things either. It's also like, I don't see my body type outs outdoors, right? I go to a generically named shop that sells outdoor equipment. And on the outside of that shop, I see beautiful people, like beautiful, wonderful people who are like models, they are, they are outdoor models, and they are skinny and fit and, but not too skinny. They want to get too skinny is like that, like healthy. What is considered to be like by culture by society to be like the healthy outdoors person, right? 

Frankie Dewar  41:28  
with the fingers for the recording. 

Soraya  41:30  
Yeah, sorry, I'm doing I'm doing like lots of inverted commas. So I'd like healthy. And individuals that are mostly met predominantly white, very, like, this is like something that has always bothered me. And I've actually never spoken about it. And I don't think I've ever really considered it really in great detail. But for example, my hair is a nightmare to maintain. It's even more of a nightmare on like a mountain, right? Or like in this in and out of the sea. And I like look at these people who were like the beautiful outdoors people. It also happens on Instagram, let's be honest, like it's this. It's not just like media and like brands. And I think I could never be like, I think I could never be that person. I'm still confident in myself in the outdoors. Like, I don't care. That's why I've always done it. And I haven't been posting pictures of myself because I'm like, why would anyone want to see that? But I think that it's it's just unrealistic. And it makes people look at it and go, I can do that. Like, I can't be a runner, because I don't look like that person. We're talking about like body types. I have and I have always had large thighs. I have never ever been able to find like board shorts. that fit. What are the main things that drives me insane. Like even like they'd sizes just don't go up to like, I mean, that's horrific. Because board shorts are like, the most comfortable thing ever. I now wear them for everything. I'm really sorry. But it's like, this is what I mean is it's like even down to so it's less about it's definitely about the representation because no I never but I I'm used to that as well, because I have never really seen myself represented anywhere. Like when I grew up the only person that I ever saw who I would be like maybe was Beyonce. To be fair, is an amazing like, like person to like look up to you because you're like she kicks off right? But people would even tell me I tell me I look like Beyonce. I do. Like for the for the recording. I do not look like Beyonce. I really don't. I would love to but I really don't. 

Frankie Dewar  43:45  
I guess if you wanted to compliment that, like I could say yeah, I really don't see it. 

Soraya  43:51  
No, no, exactly. And so this is the thing is like I was always a bit like, Are you saying that because she's the only person who kind of vaguely looks like me. So this is a wider representative representation issue. But yeah, for me in the outdoors, it's it's actually been more focused around body type. And also I was saying to somebody yesterday, like I feel like I'm my opinion of women in the outdoors is skewed. Like, I don't think I can look at it independently, because I am in so many women's groups. And I know so many like badass women doing these amazing things in the outdoors. That like when people say to me about women being underrepresented. I don't get that I have surrounded myself with what I completely understand like our breaking barriers and creating change and doing these amazing things. But I don't see a lack of them. If that makes sense. But then that's partly because it depends on I don't consume a lot of I very rarely go shopping got to be honest. So I'm not really looking at like who they're advertising their stuff to. I do consume, like adventure media, but I'm completely biased, because I just see see women everywhere, doing these amazing things. 

Frankie Dewar  45:08  
That's exactly the same as my Instagram. So on my Instagram, I said, I've heard people saying that Instagram is really bad for like diet culture and like promoting it. And I'm like, No, it's not. It's funny wasn't to say, What are you talking about? Then I realized that no, that's just like, my new feed that came in to me. 

Soraya  45:23  
Exactly. And that's it. That's one of the things isn't it, it's like about who you follow. And that's why for Black Lives Matter, they've been doing a lot of things previously to this last movement about diversify your feed, like, let's see different people. And not just like, not just black lives matter. But like from all of the different types of diversity we talked about earlier, like, let show the different people doing different things, and it's going to be better for you, like, you're gonna feel better and happier. And it's also like, amazing to just see, like, all of these people out there doing it, people are doing it. And that's one of the things that I got really angry about, like people of color in the outdoors. I'm so conflicted the whole time. Because I'm, it needs to be better. And we need to see more people of color. And we need to make sure that, like there's more representation. But also, I was like, there were loads of people who were like, yeah, you're right. Like, we never see anybody doing anything like that in the outdoors. And I was like, Hello. Hi, I'm, I'm right here. Yeah, exactly. And I think that's the thing is like, it's not necessarily that there aren't, there are, there's a lack of representation. And that's like a whole load of things. But I also think the people who are doing it out there aren't being seen doing it. And they're not being promoted. And they're not being and if you look at the number of followers of somebody who's done exactly the same thing, as like someone who has, like, 25,000 followers, and you're like, Oh, my God, this person, or even sometimes even better, better things, and you look at their posts and posts, and you're like, how do they? How does their account only have like one and a half 1000 followers? And this person has like, 25,000, how does that happen? And then if you don't have like, the way social media works, obviously, if you don't have loads of followers, it's not hard to get them and yeah, exactly, exactly. Yeah. While I'm saying like everyone in the outdoors, everyone out there, there are people out there that you can follow and be inspired by. And also, I just kind of like, post about the stuff you're doing. Let's talk about it. Can we also use, okay, I'm going to use this opportunity to say something that's been really bugging me, which I really actually need to also say generally, which is can we start using diversify outdoors UK as a hashtag? 

Frankie Dewar  47:47  
thats how I found you

Soraya  47:48  
Yes. So because it's like, so our situation in the UK has similarities, but it's also different to the US. And the US is big. And there are a lot of people, and they are miles ahead of us in terms of like some of the representation areas. And so if we were like, what about the people here who are doing amazing things? Why are we not posting being like, diversify outdoors, UK, so that we can find people who are doing it here and learn and like, grow and boost, boost those people up? So can we do that? Please? Just 

Frankie Dewar  48:26  
use it. Follow it. Yeah. And if you're following someone whose content you like you think needs more engagement, like and save and share their photos, because that's how the algorithm works. 

Soraya  48:37  
Yes, exactly. Exactly. Exactly. We need to boost people up. Okay.

Frankie Dewar  48:43  
I'm just going to pull up my other question from this section. And then I'll like jump backwards again. And what perceptions of women do you think that are? And how do you think they match up to your reality?

Soraya  48:57  
In general, or in the outdoors? 

Frankie Dewar  49:00  

Soraya  49:03  
I mean, that's such a broad question. It's interesting, because I'm like, I don't know where to start. So actually, which I also don't talk about very much. My dissertation for my MBA was on authentic leadership for women. And so a lot of I did a lot of research into what makes great leader, what traits women show what traits men show, what the perception of women is, what the barriers they faces. And that's a whole like, that could be a whole thing on his own. Entire podcast. I just come back again. Yeah, at the end of Yeah. And then we can talk about that instead. So women has been something that I've been super passionate about, kind of pushing forward the way we talk about ourselves, the way that we present our ourselves feel like we should present ourselves the way society sees us. I think that, I mean, there's so many aspects, I don't even know where to start, you know, and you're just feeling like that's, that's such a broad question. Because obviously there are perceptions about the way that you should look and the way that you should behave. And I guess those are two things which transcend like, all of the different aspects of like life as a woman, especially if you are a ambitious, like pushing boundaries, women, bossy, you know, like domineering, and loud. All of the things that as we all know, as a man, they'd be like, Oh, my God, what a go getter. 

Frankie Dewar  50:45  
How charismatic. 

Soraya  50:46  
Yeah, exactly lifting smashing those boundaries. And it was like the recently I, because I don't listen to a lot of new music. And but I came across Taylor Swift's song. And if I was the man, 

Frankie Dewar  51:04  
oh, I don't think I've heard it. 

Soraya  51:06  
Oh, my God, I can't believe you haven't heard it. It's great. And that's what and that's one of the things that she she sings about in that it's a great song. And actually in the video, like she got made, like she had like prosthetics and stuff put on so that she then was the man in the video. But it's like, she talks about how all of the things that we know happen, that is basically like, if you are the way that you speak to people, then they're like, Oh, my God, like she's so rude. And then if it's like a man, it would be like, Oh, he's so focused. He's like, really, like just nailing it. He just knows what he wants. It's just not taking any of that bullshit. Oh, like she is. She is unbelievable. She's so emotional. She just can't. Can't Yeah, I don't know if there are so many things. We've talked about this. But I think particularly I think it's about assertive. For me. And this is definitely not the only area of it. But the thing that really irritates me is this perception of assertive women as being a problem, not conforming, not behaving, and I get it even with dating, I, I've been told by very, very close friends who I respect greatly to tone myself down, to not talk about all the things I'm interested in, because it could be overwhelming to like, you know,

Frankie Dewar  52:31  
not going to be overwhelming to someone on your level, like surely you wouldn't go out with someone on your level.

Soraya  52:37  
But the argument is, is that that? Yes, no, I agree. I mean, obviously, I agree. But the argument is, is that for the way that you're perceived by society is controlled by subconscious bias. It's not necessarily also controlled by like, so the way whether you're attracted and engaged with somebody isn't necessarily your thought process of being like, Oh, my God, like, this person is like, really passionate, and interest. It's like, we're women don't do that. They're like, because this is too much too fast. Or like, whatever. Anyway, it's, it's interesting. I didn't take that advice very well. Although I very much appreciated the people taking the time, because they didn't ask to be fair. But I was it was a bit like, thanks. But no, 

Frankie Dewar  53:31  
so when I asked you later on for your one piece of advice, it's not gonna be that 

Soraya  53:34  
No, no. 

Frankie Dewar  53:35  
Okay, let me just check where we are. So if you're okay, I've kind of got like three more sections to go through. So it's like a little bit about your journey and just your

Soraya  53:46  
Yeah, I just felt like im talking a lot 

Frankie Dewar  53:49  
its amazing!. Please do please keep going , then another like fairly big section and then just like a tiny little bit to finish off. Okay, so join, I need to move or take a break or stretch or anything. 

Soraya  54:01  
I'm just going to try. I'm going to try and keep my answers a bit more concise.

Frankie Dewar  54:07  
Wait till you hear the questions. 

Soraya  54:09  
Oh, God. 

Frankie Dewar  54:12  
Okay, so looking at your journey, how is your journey shaped who you are now?

Soraya  54:17  
Oh, it's made me completely who I am now. And so I feel like lots of I've had lots of twists and turns, I've had times where I haven't been very happy. I've had times where life has been amazing. And I think I am a very, I'm very confident in myself and who I am now. And in my decision making like I don't I used to doubt myself. I don't really doubt myself anymore. And I also know that even if I that doesn't mean I always make the right decision just to be very clear. And but it just means that I am also confident in my problem solving skills in terms of Being able to resolve it if I do not make the right decision, if that makes sense. So it's fine. Like we all make mistakes, and we do different things. And it's okay. But I don't think I would be this person if I hadn't have gone through those highs and lows. And I think everyone probably feels like that. Because you're, you're molded by your experiences and the way that you react to the world is different. I mean, I was thinking the other day, like, I feel like when I was, I feel like when I was in my 20s, I was like, nauseous. Right? I mean, I'm not saying that about you. 

Frankie Dewar  55:34  
I look Back to like, my 21 year old self, and I literally messaged people, I'm like, I'm so sorry. You get to know me then. 

Soraya  55:39  
Yeah, exactly. It's like one of these things, isn't it? Where you're, like, really like hindsight. Like, I think about the way that I reacted to things. And the way that I behaved, and I Yeah, exactly. I want to text everyone and be like, Guys, I God really. Um, but I think that's just learning like, that is your that that is not for everybody. It's not even for everybody in their 20s. Sometimes it's their 30s or 40s. But there's a period of time where you do learn about yourself, and you learn what's Okay, and what's not. Okay, and what you feel comfortable with and what you don't feel comfortable with. And, yeah, I feel like if you asked me this again, in 10 years, I'll be like, God, can you believe that interview? I was such a douche. Because I feel like we're all still on the journey. 

Frankie Dewar  56:31  
Completely. Yeah. Um, you've obviously like, lived like a really interesting life? Do you ever feel like you've kind of been going against the grain?

Soraya  56:42  
Mm hmm. And how have you coped with that? Yeah, all the time. I know known for it in my family. It's like, it's like a thing. It's like, Oh, well, you know, and I was talking about how I was quite disappointed that some of my kind of long distance travel plans hadn't worked out with my mom, like yesterday. And she was like, Yeah, but one day, you'll just be like, I'm just going and then you'll be gone. And it'll be fine. It's, um, is it took me a long time to realize that that was part of my personality, though. I just felt like I was just searching for something that made me happy. And I didn't realize that I was quite as impulsive as I as I am. But yeah, so basically, I did, I did a law degree as my degree originally. And I hated it. I hated every second of it. I finished it, though. Gosh, license, thank you. And I went, I just was never going to be a lawyer. I felt like you're either a law person or you're not a law person. And I felt like people who work in the legal field will say the same thing. Like it's like, amazing, and it's your whole world, or you just don't get it. And I just so I then left, and I just started applying for jobs that were like fairly local to me. But in areas that I was interested in, I think I applied to like an advertising agency. Like I've always wanted to do like more creative type things. And I ended up working at an equine hospital, which was like really random, although I'd always been a horse rider, and I did at the time, own my own horse. And and I worked as the assistant to like four yard managers. And it was one of the most interesting jobs I've ever done. And it was like ordering like for the yard, but it was also like holding horses for MRI scans. And like writing reports for the directors, I had this badass women as my boss, like she was incredible. And actually, one of the interesting things in my research, when I did the research into leaders is that you look for qualities in leaders that you've seen in leaders previously, if you've experienced in leaders previously. And that made me wonder if the reason why I was like, yeah, of course, women can be like, ethic leaders, is because well, I have strong women in my family anyway. But because my first boss was she just rocks and she was so supportive. She's amazing mentor, she was still friends now. She's great. And anyway, everyone thought that was weird, because they were like, why would you do a law degree? In fact, she said to me, I only interviewed you because you applied and you had a law degree. And I was like, why would someone with a law degree want this job? 

Frankie Dewar  59:24  
Got you. what you needed!

Soraya  59:25  
Yeah, exactly. Well, this is the thing. I was like, Well, it wasn't didn't it? So yeah, so I got a lot of stick for that. And also, I'm the oldest in my family and so they were always like, oh, like Doctor lawyer. I was like yard assistant. So I did that. While I was there. I met somebody and you were talking about like meeting people and like instances that like change like your course. And I was already blogging because I already well, I i've been blogging since uni, I blogged about being a little student as well. And I met a question just He used to come in to do articles about like the hospital. And a job came up. And my boss put me forward for it with the magazine. And so then I ended up working for an equestrian magazine, which was like my dream job, like writing all day, I got to write all day. And when I wasn't writing, I'd be out coordinating, like photo shoots, and like, on these amazing yards with these amazing horses, and I got to do all the Olympic coverage, and I got to meet Olympians and go to their yards. Oh, it's just like, it's such a good job, like it was. So it was great. I did it for like four years, and it was amazing. But then I got that feeling like that something is not quite right. And I think part of it was because we'd I lost my granddad. And, and at the same time, my mom was very well. And it was a very, like, it was a very stressful time. And I think I suddenly realized that what I was doing, I was enjoying it, but it didn't have a purpose. So then, I gave up this job that I told everyone for years was like my dream job. And everyone was a bit like, You're crazy. What are you doing? I was like, I'm gonna go back and study and it's gonna cost me like loads of money. And I don't really know what I'm gonna do afterwards. But I feel like it's just like the right way to go. And I'm very lucky because I have a very supportive family. I didn't realize how supportive so it was, the course that I did was called the one planet MBA. And it was basically like a business course. But with every single module that we did had sustainability, also embedded in it. It was really, it was great. It was amazing. So I didn't realize how supportive they were until several years after I did my course, my dad sent me an email. And it was like, forwarded me this email that was basically about this big sustainability conference. And literally, he wrote one line at the top of it, and it was like, turns out like this actually quite a big thing. It's a bit like, um, yeah. Uh, thanks for being so supportive. When do you thought that I had lost my mind clearly. Anyway, so I went and did that. And at the same time I had, I was working at a security company. I was actually working like for my dad's company, it was very, very stressful job. And I quit one day, I just quit as I'm not doing this anymore. And I went to work on the reception at Climbing Center, because I just like the idea of like, going in the morning, leaving in the evening, right? Everyone thought I was nuts doing that. They were like, how can you like build up your career so much. And now you're just gonna like, work on reception. I think it's a great job. You get to meet really cool people, I get to climb for free. What's not to like? Then I became climbing instructors, but all of my weekends teaching kids how to climb. Everyone also thought I was nuts. Then I told everyone I was getting canoeing, as I said, everyone was like, but do you even know how to, you know? Why would why would you not go though?

Frankie Dewar  1:03:07  
So with all these like instances, and people are like, why are you doing this? Why are you nuts? Like, how did you go for it and overcome that. 

Soraya  1:03:17  
I am, I think I've realized that I'm, I'm just not scared. And I kind of know everything is reversible. Well not reversible. But like going to work on the reception at Climbing Center. I already had like a whole load of my career behind me anyway, I still had that experience. And I was confident in that. It was fine. Like, even if that went horribly wrong, then it I was still going to be able to like find work somehow afterwards. Anyway. I'm going canoeing with a group of people who have organized a canoeing trip with this great company that's based in the US. What's the worst that can happen on that trip? I hate it for like, the whole time I'm paddling. But I'm not going to die. Like and two, two and a half weeks or however long it was a discomfort is not gonna Mar my life. Like I can just I'm pretty good at compartmentalizing things, actually, to be honest. So if it had been horrendous, I just never would have spoken about it every day. And I guess I'm very lucky in that. But I also I talk to a lot of people where I say things like that, like what's the worst that can happen? And I read a really good book actually, that said, one of the great ways of working through fears is to write down all of the steps that would have to happen for your worst case scenario to happen. So for example, like one of the things was like if I give up my job, maybe like this is for somebody who like owns a house, if I give up my job, like maybe I'll end up homeless, and it's like, but the steps that you would need to go through for that to happen. Right, you'd have to lose your job. If you have any savings, use up all of your savings, right? You'd have to not be able to find any job, like we're talking about anything like you could find a job, you would then have to like not have any friends or family that would be willing to like pick you up for a short period of time, so that you'd be able to get back on your feet. And then you would have to get to the point where you couldn't negotiate any sort of like way that you could like, live somewhere else. Like, if you owned a house, you could then you could sell your house, and then you would have money that you could like put towards rent, right? There's like quite a lot of steps that you have to go to before you're like, and then I'm homeless, and I like have nothing. And like a lot of fears, not all fears, like some fears, you do it and you're like, oh, there's actually only one step, maybe I should rethink. But a lot of fears, there are like multiple steps that would have to happen. Like it would all have to be worst case scenario for you to end up like in the point where, which is your fear,

Frankie Dewar  1:05:58  
I want to move on from sort of things you've been talking about. And I want to go into like, more like emotions. And one thing that I want to talk about is like your authentic self. I think this will be quite interesting if you just do it all about authenticity. But I really want to talk about this because for me every year that I get older, I kind of look back, and I'm like, I feel like how just like a little bit more living is who I really am. And when I look back, I'm like, Oh, honey, like he didn't know anything. 

Soraya  1:06:29  
Yep, that's fair.

Frankie Dewar  1:06:31  
What is like authenticity or your authentic self mean to you.

Soraya  1:06:37  
So authenticity is an interesting concept. Because actually authenticity in its definition you can't be seen, and you can't be authentic, unless you're seen as authentic by others. 

Frankie Dewar  1:06:48  

Soraya  1:06:50  
So it's actually a really like, it's one of those definitions, I actually hate because I think it's like a nothingness definition because you could be your absolute true self. And people could not perceive that to be your true self. And therefore you couldn't actually be authentic. Which is interesting, isn't it? 

Frankie Dewar  1:07:07  
And I guess the same thing the other way round, you could be completely pretending that people see you as authentic. 

Soraya  1:07:12  
Yeah, although there are other like there are It's been a while since I did those. But there are other criteria that require that that would stop you being inauthentic. And still being like, you can't, there is a series of like, you have to be true to yourself, see what I mean. But essentially, also, one of the challenges I have with authenticity is like, what if your authentic self is a jerk? Right. But what if your authentic self actually is and I think we all have elements of this in in us? I mean, I do too, like, is like incredibly selfish? Like, how much of that like, like, you're always going to be tempering yourself slightly. So I kind of feel like, it's authenticity is interesting, as a concept, and I think you're right, I think it's constantly evolving. I don't think it's ever I don't think it's a store concept. But I am very much marred by the fact that I know that it's related to how people view you. And like, I can't get that like when people say authentic self, I can't get that off my head. Because How do you know? And how could you ever know, if somebody is being truly authentic? Because only they really know, right? Unless they're like, sporadic and they're like, dude, but even then, like people can be lots of things at the same time. And I think I really answered your question. 

Frankie Dewar  1:08:44  
You answered my question. So much, and you just like rocked my entire route. I felt like my universe is just like, tilted in a different direction. 

Soraya  1:08:53  
It's weird, but then obviously, most people wouldn't use like the like, technical definition of authenticity. Right? So yeah, in a sense of like, being yourself and being your true self. I mean, always. But yeah, I think having studied it, I just can't look at it in the same way anymore. 

Frankie Dewar  1:09:12  
And so from that, my usual question is, do you feel like you're living as your authentic self? I mean, I'm not even more intrigued to hear your answer to this, than I would be normally. 

Soraya  1:09:23  
I don't know, do you think I'm living my authentic self? Um, I do. I think that I actually think somebody asked me recently what the responsibilities are of being online and talking about how yourself and like where you are. And I think that that is hard, right? Because as somebody who shares what you're doing online and shares your life like you want to be sharing everything, but also if you have a really crap week don't really want to be like posting every day like, still terrible. Yeah, exactly. cried for three hours this morning. And just like I did yesterday, how's your day going? Bad. And there's like, there's a balance to be made, right. So it's like important to talk about it. But also, I think, and it's also what you're all about right is like about inspiring people and like motivating people. And so I think we need to show we have to share the arcs, basically. And I try I find that a constant. And I think everyone who does who shares online does, I find that a constant battle, like, Where is the balance of like, showing, because you can also be desperately sad, but also aware of like, how privileged you are, and like how amazing Your life is, right? And you can also be desperately sad and feel like none of these things apply. And you can also be ecstatically happy, but also had like the crappiest time in like the run up to that point. I guess the I guess the real answer is I try.

Soraya  1:11:07  
And everyday, I tried to be better. And I think that's the that's the most important thing. It sounds really like. And it makes me feel a little bit vomity to say it, but I honestly I really do. Because I had somebody our Cathy Edswel, who's one of my favorite people in the world. She runs like the matriarch adventure, and she's mountain leader. So do you know the matriarch adventure? Okay, so she runs every year, unfortunately, not this year, because of everything that's been going on walks in Namibia, with desert elephants, but just just for women, mothers, she does mother and daughter trips where you can go and she's incredible. Anyway, I did a whale shark conservation trip with her and Bex Band and a group of other amazing women. And she said to me, I was having a freakout. And this is like about this honesty thing, right? So I was having a freakout about snorkeling because I like I didn't realize at the time, but I had like a broken snorkel. And so as I breathe in water, and so I like felt like I was gonna drown. And so I had like a couple of like, freakout things. So she said to me on that trip, and it stuck with me forever. Every second is a new start. Every single second is a completely new start, you're starting over, let go of everything else. You don't need to worry about it. And it just makes me go. Why. Okay, breathe. Now is a new second. Now is a new start. I can just it doesn't matter that that happened before. let let let yourself let go of it. Basically.

Frankie Dewar  1:12:38  
I really like the idea that like every day is New Year's Day, if you're brave enough. 

Soraya  1:12:42  
Yes. Yeah. Absolutely. 

Frankie Dewar  1:12:44  
That leads really nicely into my next question. What does bravery mean to you? 

Soraya  1:12:48  

Frankie Dewar  1:12:51  
when you said, I'm gonna make my office's more concise. I was like,

Soraya  1:12:56  
Oh, no, I think I have like, actually, funnily enough, I think I think I have got a true answer to this. Oh, yeah. So I actually think bravery is doing things when you are not sure of the outcome. But doing it anyway, to me, it's a leap into uncertainty. And that can be anything. It doesn't have to be a climbing Everest, it can be, you know, taking that step outside your house, actually, when you're just having a really bad day, or picking up a phone, the phone to somebody who you've had an argument with, or like, it's stepping into uncertainty.

Frankie Dewar  1:13:40  
Would you describe yourself as brave?

Soraya  1:13:43  
Which is like, it's weird, isn't it when you like, try and apply these things yourself? I think other people would say that some of the things I've done, I've been brave. I struggle with that. But then that's because I struggle with any sort of, I struggle with compliments. Generally, women struggle with compliments, generally. And we also say just a lot. Oh, I just did that. I only did this. No. But that's something else entirely. So yeah.

Frankie Dewar  1:14:11  
Could you tell me about a time when you feel like you've been brave?

Soraya  1:14:15  
Um, I'm sure that I have been like better examples of this. Like, it's quite hard when you like, haven't really had time. I'm sure I would have a very curated answer. 

Frankie Dewar  1:14:26  
So, I interviewed frit as my like very first trial interview for the questions that she was like, Can you send them to me? Can you send it to me? And I was like, No, I'm not going to send the questions to anybody. I don't want Yeah, the curated answers. Yeah, want. Whatever happened in the conversation, and the chances are, we're not going to stick to the questions anyway. 

Soraya  1:14:42  
Yeah, yeah. And sometimes it's, sometimes it's great to have questions in advance and sometimes it just it, then you're almost just going through the motions on you because the person's already answered it. So they already know what they're going to say. Probably the first time so I have been very, very lucky. I've traveled a lot with my family, we didn't travel, we used to go to Cornwall every year when I was a kid love Cornwall. And so I didn't travel abroad very much until I was in my very late teens. And I did that with my family, we we started going to like all these different places, and it was amazing. But I never went with any friends because I could never get them to want to go. And I think sometimes that happens when you're, you're I have an amazing group of friends from when I was like at college, but we're all very different people. And that's almost why we're great friends, because we're like, so different, because it's the circumstance that made you friends, right? Because you were in this place at this time. And I could just never get anyone to go with me. And it was making me very unhappy. And I just decided, and it was actually when I also decided to do my sustainability course. So I guess I just decided to change. I was like, I'm overhauling my life. Like, I don't want my life to be like this, I'm, I'm unhappy. And I'm making myself unhappy because I'm not taking steps, I could take steps. So I bought. And this is so unsustainable. I'm just like making that very clear. To start with, I booked to go to a party in the Sahara Desert in Morocco. For like, four days. And I didn't know anyone I didn't know anyone who was going it was permitted through a book club that I'm a member of, which is an amazing book club. And in London, called rubber book club. It was someone from there was organizing it. And I was just like, you know what, I'm just gonna book on it. And I don't care. And I want to go somewhere with adults that aren't like my parents, and I'm gonna see what happens and hope it will be great. And it was great and also awful. Like it was, I have never been so cold my entire life. But the people were amazing. And the experience was amazing. mesa is traveling. Also, we went in February. And in my head, I was like Sahara, it's gonna be so warm. And we like drove through the mountains. And it was just like snow, and like pouring rain. And it was I was like pushing down my research, but I'm sure and all the videos like the promotional videos were like, sunshine and like, beautiful, like tents and stuff. Anyway, I've never been so cold in my life. But I feel like that's, that was me being brave. Like I was like, I don't know what traveling with strangers is gonna be like, I don't know what Morocco is gonna be like, I'm just gonna go. And that was the same year that actually that I went canoeing. I went canoeing later in the year. So yeah, like you said, just like jumping into uncertainty.

Frankie Dewar  1:17:46  
And what does happiness feel like to you?

Soraya  1:17:48  
Oh, that's another good question. Happiness is a tricky thing. I think happiness changes. Like what makes what makes you happy, and how you feel happy changes. It's like, as we discussed before, like going through your journey, like it's different. And different things make you happy. And things that you never thought would make you happy make you happy. I read actually really interesting thing about how happiness is, is a fleeting emotion, which is really interesting, and how it's not like this, it's not necessarily the thing that we should be like, cons aiming to be constantly happy, because actually, that's not realistic. And like happiness is like a peak. It's like a fluctuation if that makes sense. I think happiness, sorry, that was just like a side thing. Because I find the concept of it really interesting. I am happy, I am most happy. And I feel happy when I am content in myself and quiet. Because you probably notice like my brain is a bit like. And I think that I like it, like happiness for me is when I can when my brain it's not switched off. But it doesn't feel like it's leaping everywhere. And I get that in lots of different ways. So I used to get it when I was climbing because I'm not really climbing at the moment because like climbing is really far away. And I've just been really busy. As we discussed earlier. Like when you're climbing you're only thinking about like the next move you're doing. You're not thinking like you can't because well, that's not true. I did teach some people who were just like, not scared of heights and naturally, like super gymnastic and amazing. And they, they would come on beginners courses. And they they didn't really like climbing. because they'd be like, yeah, it's really not that hard. And I don't know what the big deal is. And I was like, maybe it's not for you. I would even like put the one like even really hard stuff. And they'd just be like, Yeah, and that's not what climbing it's for me climbing is like, what's the next move? Like how am I going to do this being completely in the moment and I also find that when I'm I'm drawing like I do. I do art when I go on expeditions and stuff, which I love doing and I try and do. I've been doing like a lot more nature's A UK based since we've been in lockdown, and and I find it in that to like that whole whole focus, and that's, that's flow. So that's something else as well. But like humans are happiest when we're kind of like in flow. And also like things like, you know, the moments you get where you're just like, you're sat in the pub with, like some friends. And it's not different to like any other time or any other reason. But suddenly, you're just like, this is great. Those are the moments of like happiness for me. Whereas I feel like maybe if you'd have asked me this, like, 10 years ago, I would have been like, yeah, it was like that time that I did this amazing achievement, or like, the time that I did like this. And I'm like, no, that's not. That to me, isn't happiness? 

Frankie Dewar  1:20:42  
What great, answer thank you so much. 

Soraya  1:20:46  
I tried to keep it short, it still wasn't even that short. 

Frankie Dewar  1:20:50  
But you repeat today, we are like very nearly at the end. So I've just got I'll pull my questions back off again. So I've just got two more questions. 

Soraya  1:20:59  

Frankie Dewar  1:21:00  
So do you have any female role models? Who are they? Why?

Soraya  1:21:07  
I have 

Frankie Dewar  1:21:08  
Just a short one to show finish. 

Soraya  1:21:09  
Yeah, it's just like, throw that one in there. Right? I have lots of female role models, which probably doesn't usually surprise you. I felt like I should choose like a. I feel like I should maybe choose one day. I actually have. Okay, so I have loads of different female role models. But they're not necessarily. Some of them are high profile, but they're not necessarily high profile. Does that make sense? Yeah. And I feel like in some ways, like giving high profile names, feeds into what we were talking about earlier that there are like some really, really high profile popular people who just continue to gain like more and more traction and more and more followers and amazing, they should absolutely do that. Because I've been inspired by them. Like, I think they're great. But I also feel like that then doesn't like do what I'm what I'm trying to like promote which is like bigging up people who are I don't think anybody I feel I have a problem with the word ordinary, because I don't think anyone's ordinary, I think everybody has like their own uniqueness and their specialness. But I feel like maybe all of us need to be looking for role models that are, are the things that a resonate with us that like are us, but also the things that we're interested in, right? Because I could tell you, and that maybe that's part of the problem. Because I could name like several climbers, I think are amazing. I'm not necessarily like they are like my role model. Because I also can think of like amazing sailors who are also like, epic, like female role models. And you could also go into business and be like, look at these like business women, they are like nailing it. And then I also like look at people in my close friendship group. And who've overcome like these amazing, not amazing, but they are amazing, because they've overcome these like really difficult things in their lives. And no one's ever gonna hear about it or know about it. But that can be even more inspiring than somebody doing like a epic adventure journey, which also inspires me. So that's going to be my answer. My answer is I inspired by women all the time. And I feel like we all need to go out and find our own role models get ours. 

Frankie Dewar  1:23:25  
I mean, I feel like you completely be deviated and bypassed it.

Soraya  1:23:30  
I avoided to the question, I do genuinely feel that I could list right now loads of those women, but I feel like then I wouldn't be listing women that are equally as amazing. And I just don't. I think that's, I think that's a shame. I feel like now I want to go and write a blog post with like, all of the amazing to make sure I haven't missed anybody, because that's actually one of my concerns is like, what if I, I will forget people? And what if I forget someone who's like so important like in, I just don't have a brain that like holds all these things like together very well. I'm looking forward to the blog post. I'll get on that.

Frankie Dewar  1:24:13  
So, second last question. Sorry, I'd actually have one more. But what advice would you give to your younger self?

Soraya  1:24:20  
I think the advice that I would give my younger self is life is is going to be hard. It's not. And I don't mean that in like a really, really hard way, but it's going to be much harder than you're expecting. And life isn't gonna go the way you plan. And that's okay, because you're gonna come through it. And I think that's the thing when you're younger and you hit roadblocks, feels like the end of the world. It feels like there's no way that you're going to be able to come back from it. And you do. And then you're like, Oh, I did that. It was okay. And then when the next one comes along, you're like, Oh, god, no, this is really big and scary. And like, I feel like I can't do it. And you do that too. And then eventually you get to a point. Like, I feel like, there are some things that I would definitely build on top of that, that would be incredibly scary. And I would feel like I couldn't overcome, but I feel like a lot of general things. Now, I am pretty confident that I know if that happened to me that I would be able to cope with it. And I don't think that you just don't know that when you're young, because you haven't been through it yet.

Frankie Dewar  1:25:28  
Completely, that resonates with my journey. So much. Um, last question, is there anything that you thought I would ask you that haven't?

Soraya  1:25:41  
No, but I always like these questions, because it's like, if you have anything, isn't it, it's like, if I, if I wanted you to ask me something I could be like, Well, actually, I really thought that you would ask me about my shop. I don't have a shop just so we're clear 

Frankie Dewar  1:25:57  
about the thing that I really want to plug . 

Soraya  1:25:59  
Yeah, exactly. Um, no, I don't think so. We've talked about a lot of things I didn't think we talked about. And I thought we talked about diversity in the outdoors. And I thought we would talk about why the outdoors is great. So I think you asked for the things I thought you would ask. Let's see, you don't need another long answer for me. Yes, actually, I have this list of questions I prepared earlier. 

Frankie Dewar  1:26:26  
If you could ask me these 10 questions. 

Soraya  1:26:30  
Come on, there are far more interesting people to meet to do. 

Frankie Dewar  1:26:34  
I mean, for the last hour and a half, like I'm not sure.

Soraya  1:26:39  
It hasn't been an hour and a half. Oh my god. Well, it's been it's been fun, and it's been really interesting. So thank you. Thank you so much.

Frankie Dewar  1:26:57  
Thank you so much for listening. I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Cycling on my next interview, it's one of my favorite moments from the trip. Soraya joined me on her bamboo bike, as well as my friend Phoebe fromPetersfeild. It was awesome to ride together. I had to pinch myself a few times to check that I wasn't actually dreaming, and I felt part of an absolute squad. Next episode, I talked to Shadi and mountainair with a fear of heights. She tells us all about how she came to the mountains. A huge thank you to everyone who has listened to and share the podcast. I've received some truly beautiful messages about how the topics have resonated with you. And I'm so so grateful. If you've enjoyed this episode, please let me know my inbox is always open. And if you'd like to help the community, you can do this by leaving a review and sharing it with a friend. Thank you so much again for listening. Until next time, keep on being extraordinary.

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